Ag Briefs: Sandy-Valley Farms wins Elite Breeder Award

Wisconsin State Farmer
Wisconsin briefs


2022 Elite Breeder Award Recipient

Holstein Association USA honored the Bauer brothers of Sandy-Valley Farms in Scandinavia, Wis., with the 2022 Elite Breeder Award. 

The Registered Holstein herd at Sandy-Valley Farms has achieved the sought-after balance of cattle with high type and genomic value.

Although the family is no longer farming, the positive contributions Sandy-Valley genetics have had on the Holstein breed will leave a lasting influence. The four Bauer brothers — Frank, Patrick, David, and Greg — worked together to achieve their goals, along with Frank’s children, Danae and Ethan.  

The family’s commitment to breeding high-quality genetics led to much success for Sandy-Valley Farms over the years. This includes both cows and sires.

The Bauers developed an outstanding set of high index animals over the years, including two number one TPI® bulls, a number one CTPI cow, and a number one GTPI female. The farm bred an impressive 107 Dams of Merit and 106 Gold Medal Dams, including 46 cows receiving both distinctions. They also bred 10 Gold Medal Sires and a total of 186 Excellent females and males.

In 2019, Holstein International recognized them as number six on the “25 Most Influential Breeders of the Last 25 Years” list, as selected by their readers.


WI teachers to share FFA and agriculture opportunities

This summer, ag teachers will come together to share how they can work together to share the story of FFA and agricultural education in their states and communities.  Four Wisconsin teachers will be among more than 70 agricultural education teachers that will participate in the National Teachers Ambassadors for FFA program.

Samantha White, Brenna Babcock, Emma Huber, and Jennifer Russell will receive intensive training in June and July to learn and collaborate on educational resources. 

Throughout the year, the ambassadors will present workshops and work with teachers from across the country to brainstorm and share ideas. Through the year, the ambassadors will serve as a voice of the organization to teachers across the country.


Spring Valley awarded grain rescue equipment

 Grain bin accidents send shockwaves through rural communities as farmers and grain handlers know all too well how quickly entering a grain bin can turn deadly. To help prevent these accidents that result in dozens of lives lost each year, Nationwide is providing life-saving resources to rural America’s first responders.

Spring Valley Fire Department of Wisconsin was among 58 fire departments across the U.S. to be awarded life-saving grain equipment during Nationwide's Grain Bin Safety campaign. Since 2014, the company has awarded 265 rescue tubes across 31 states.


15 projects receive WI Specialty Crop Block Grants

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) announced 15 projects have been selected to receive more than $1.16 million in USDA Specialty Crop Block Grants. These recipients were selected from 19 funding requests totaling more than $1.48 million.

Grants are awarded to projects intended to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crop industries through research, education or market development. Recipients are required to provide 25 percent of the grant funds as a matching contribution.

The recipients of the funded projects include DATCP’s Division of Agricultural Resource Management, Ginseng Board of Wisconsin, Savanna Institute, Two Onion Farm, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association.


Langlade County Deer Farm Depopulated Due to CWD

Deer that had been quarantined on a 6-acre farm in Langlade County have been depopulated due to CWD, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection confirmed.

None of the 47 deer that remained at the property tested positive for CWD. Officials from the USDA's Wildlife Services depopulated the animals on May 18.

The farm will not be permitted to hold cervids for five years, and during that time it must maintain fences and submit to routine inspections.


Supreme Court ruling shakes up groundwater rights

A Nevada Supreme Court ruling has set new precedent for how the state can manage groundwater in areas with severe drought. The 4-3 ruling was issued Thursday to settle a water dispute in a rural Eureka County farm area, the Associated Press reported.

The court said groundwater management plans established in some areas that are losing water quickly can deviate from the longstanding senior water rights doctrine. Groundwater is governed by what is called a "priority doctrine." It traditionally grants senior land owners first rights to groundwater over junior land owners.

The court ruled as the West weathers a more than 20-year megadrought. Scientists say climate change will continue to make water supplies less reliable.

STROE, Netherlands

Thousands of Dutch farmers protest, fearing government cuts

Thousands of farmers have gathered in the central Netherlands to protest the Dutch government’s plans to rein in emissions of nitrogen oxide and ammonia. They drove their tractors across the country in slow-moving convoys and snarled traffic on major highways Wednesday.

The protest was organized after the government published steep nationwide targets for cutting emissions. Calling it an “unavoidable transition,” the government mandated changes that will likely make many farmers drastically reduce their livestock or get rid of them altogether.

Farmers claim their livelihoods and those of thousands of people who work in the agricultural services industry are on the line.


Overtime bill for farm workers introduced in Senate

The Fairness for Farmworkers Act of 2022 was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Alex Padilla (D-Cali.). If passed and signed, the legislation would extend overtime pay to all U.S. farm workers who were excluded from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938, which established the federal minimum wage and overtime rules.

“The discriminatory exclusion of farm workers from overtime pay has continued for far too long. Farm workers help put food on our tables and deserve equal workplace rights,” said UFW Foundation Executive Director Diana Tellefson Torres. 

Currently, California is the only state that provides overtime pay to all agricultural workers after 40 hours a week or 8 hours a day. In Washington state, only dairy workers currently receive overtime pay after working 40 hours a week.